Today is World Cancer Day. The objective is to raise awareness to the multiple types of cancer and the millions of lives effected every year. Daunting challenges are faced not only by those that struggle to survive the disease but also those that are a support system.
Cancer is a scary word. Many people avoid thinking about it until it is too late. Early detection can save your life. Mammograms, pap smears, prostate exams and regular medical checkups should not be put off until “tomorrow.”
Finding out you have cancer changes everything. It leaves you struggling to navigate medical treatment while trying to pay bills. It leaves you trying to keep relationships with family, friends and work intact. It can leave you feeling lost in a fast-moving world as you think about your own death. It leaves the people around you confused as how to act. It causes you to re-prioritize your life by focusing on the things and people that are really important. Cancer changes everything.
Most people know someone that has struggled, survived or died from some form of this disease. I urge everyone to take a moment and remember them today. In that memory, take a step forward, even if it is just one step. Make a screening appointment for yourself; volunteer a few hours to aid someone undergoing treatment; or make a small lifestyle change like starting to exercise. Most importantly, remember to celebrate life. Tell those that matter to you that you love them.
The tagline for this year’s campaign is “We can. I can.” We can find more effective screening. We can create better treatments and find cures. We can help those that cannot afford care. We can change the stigma associated with cancer.